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Policy & Politics

Wearable tech, policy and law

Given the intrinsic nature of wearable technology, the cyber criminals are devising new ways of targeting wearable devices.

Sai Sushanth

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Wearable technology has brought in a new landscape in the emerging technology altogether, while we started moving towards using technology, through computers, communication devices like mobiles and tablets, Internet, little did we realise that we could physically wear technology enabled devices. It is interesting to note the way in which wearable technology has revolutionised the devices making it an essential part of one’s daily life. A majority of people be it students, professionals, senior citizens, women and the like make use of the wearable technology be it through smart watches, fitness bands, smart pendants, and the like smart devices. Given the kind of adaptability or flexibility and the features made available thereof by wearable technology, the wearable devices are being used for a variety of purposes whether be it personal, professional, social, medical and health and the like.

These wearable gadgets have started gaining significant value and can be considered a cross section of personalisation and technology, unlike the other gadgets, these facilitate interaction between human and machines since they can be physically worn by individuals.

ANALYSIS OF WEARABLE TECH

Given intrinsic nature of wearable technologies these are interconnected, they operate with the interphase of smart phone that act as a catalyst for the device and powers through the relevant apps. These wearable devices enable real time communication between the user and the device facilitating the access to information in real time. Further, these wearable devices are embedded with storage and data input capabilities.

WEARABLE TECH AND LAW

While wearable technologies focus not just on individuals but collect and process data as also interpret the data so as to take decisions on behalf of the user of such wearable technology. In this new world of wearable technology and devices distinctive legal policy and regulatory issues are emerging and this article intends to bring forward such cutting-edge policy regulatory Issues arising out of Wearable Technology and Law.

 OWNERSHIP OF DATA-WEARABLE TECH

While one makes use of wearable device there is a lot of exchange of data between the user and the wearable device. This raises lots of questions regarding the ownership of such data. Another interesting scenario is whether such data belongs to the wearable device manufacturer or the service provider providing the said service regarding operations and maintenance of the device.

PRIVACY

The privacy being the fundamental right it becomes essential for wearable devices to protect the privacy of the individual user. By and large the wearable technologies are increasingly impacting the personal and the data privacy of the user. The service provider offering wearable technology and devices can no longer sit on the fence since more focus has to be made on protecting and preserving the privacy of individuals.

Companies will have to adopt focal thrust strategies and policies in the light of wearable devices as employees are making their way into the workplace with these wearable devices. I think companies have to take customised and indigenous approaches while coming up with parameters on how and why the employees use wearable devices and also clearly state the rules of usage in ensuring adequate protection security measures are in place so as to comply with regulations and law.

While it is just not the privacy relating to wearable device that needs to be considered, the privacy issues with respect to the relevant mobile apps also need to be looked into, since these wearable devices are connected to such mobile apps. However, most of the users of the wearable devices are not cognizant of the privacy violation and infringements arising thereof.

DATA PROTECTION

Data protection is the tipping point that needs to be considered with regard to wearable technology and devices. One of the questions that arises is regarding the data collection and processing in a wearable device. Over and top of it a lot of sensitive and personal data is exchanged between the device and user bringing in the issue of data protection. In this context policies and the terms and conditions with regard to data collection, processing and data protection need to be defined and specific informed consent needs to be taken from the user. One another aspect that needs to be specifically considered is sharing of sensitive and personal data with third party since these wearable devices are often integrated with third parties. Apart from the above specific data protection principles and policies would have to be adopted in the relevant mobile application since the wearable devices are often connected to mobile applications.

WEARABLE DEVICES AND IT ACT

While wearable devices make use of exchange of data between users and them, this data is ultimately nothing but information in electronic form and can be considered as an electronic record under the Information Technology Act. Further, these wearable devices collect data and provide a service with respect to that data turning themselves to be referred to as Intermediaries under IT Act 2000. It is pertinent to note that the Intermediary guidelines along with the cyber legal compliance envisaged under the IT Act and the rules and regulations made under shall be made applicable to wearable devices and technology.

 WEARABLE DEVICES AND GDPR

 It is interesting to see wearable technology and devices get amenable under the EU GDPR. The questions of Wearable Devices as Data Controller as also Data Processor are likely to bring in new manifestations.

 With privacy by design becoming a primary requirement of GDPR Compliance, wearable device shall be under the heat. Therefore, the processing of personal data under the GDPR would have to be specifically addressed and specific aspects with regard to personal data and data sharing to third parties need to be reviewed in the light of GDPR and wearable devices.

Given the corporate scenario the trend of the employees making use of wearable devices in offices and workplaces it is likely to bring about distinctive legal challenges specifically in the light of data retention.

Further, with right to be forgotten and right not be automatically profiled being the data subject rights under GDPR it shall be required to obtain consent before processing personal data to analyse the behaviour, preferences, health and medical conditions or predict work performance, fatigue and the like. Thereby taking consent through fine print shall be a mistaken notion and specific and communicated consent is the new message coming loud and clear under the GDPR.

WEARABLE TECH AND IP

 The wearable technology raises a lot of intellectual property issues and challenges. With more and more wearable devices making their way into the market are setting out copyright, patent and design related issues. more and more innovations are likely to be seen in wearable technologies. Apart from these a lot of IP is also generated during the exchange of data between the user and the wearable Device. It will be interesting to see how the wearable technology company is going to protect its database from an intellectual property perspective. Given the wearable technology, there can be following Intellectual Property protection which they might use for protecting the IP surrounding the same. Trademark can be used for protecting the brand name of the wearable technology as also wearable devices. Copyright can be used to protect the source code in the wearable technology. Patent can be used for protecting the invention, methodology of the wearable technology. Design can be used for protecting the design element of the wearable technology.

CONFIDENTIALITY

Given the fact that wearable devices store, handle, process sensitive and personal data, confidentiality is the new tip of the iceberg. Since most of the wearable devices are mapped with the relevant mobile apps confidentiality becomes big time ground reality. Further, these wearable devices are being used by the employees in workplace, this may open up a new picture with regard to confidential issues with regard to corporate data. In this kind of scenario, the specific confidential agreements and policies need to be outlined so as to ensure appropriate level of confidentiality. At the same time wearable devices shall also share and disclose confidential data to various service providers in the context of providing services specifically for wearable devices and wearable technologies.

That being so any unauthorised disclosure of confidential data may bring in legal ramifications in the light of national legislations relating to data protection, privacy, and the like.

WEARABLE TECH AND CYBER CRIMES

Given the intrinsic nature of wearable technology, the cyber criminals are devising new ways of targeting wearable devices. We could also potentially see a lot of cyber crimes including intrusion of personal privacy, unauthorised access, and intrusion of corporate data, breach of confidentiality and privacy and the like with regard to cybercrimes in wearable devices. While there are already instances in the public domain relating to the misuse of Wearable Devices like the Google Glass Explorer, Cecilia, Abadie instanceOct 30th2013-violating California Vehicle Code Section 27602.

 PHYSICAL SAFETY

One of the key aspects that need to be considered in the light of wearable devices is the Physical safety of the individual using and wearing the wearable device. While it is just not the personal privacy that needs to be considered but ensuring physical safety also has to be considered. Physical safety in the sense is just not relating to any kind of physical harm brought in by the wearable device to the body including but not limited to any allergic reactions from sensors or the like brought in through wireless communication, but it also comprises of protecting the physical geographical position of the individual wearing the wearable device. This becomes important and critical since most of the wearable devices make use of location tracking features as also the GPS tracking mobile apps used in conjunction with the respective wearable device. However, in case the same is compromised or unauthorized accessed could endanger the physical safety of the wearable device user.

Surveillance

It is pertinent to note that wearable technology to be used for surveillance and monitoring by both state and non-state actors. This brings in privacy related concerns specifically lot of sensitive personal data and personal information is stored in wearable devices. However, given the intrinsic nature of wearable technology such sensitive personal data or Information could be intercepted and monitored by private players for doing a variety of activities including for marketing purposes. Addressing the concerns of privacy on one hand and surveillance and monitoring on the other hand shall be the test of the times. The scenario becomes more complicated in case such personal and sensitive data of the user lands in the hands of hackers and cyber criminals.

SMART WATCH CASE STUDY

It is interesting to note that data in smart watch was used to solve a murder case. This was in the year 2016 in Australia where a woman Myrna was murdered and her daughter in law called for help. It was found that the woman was dead by 6.30 pm and the daughter in law called for help only by 10 pm, which enabled her to wipe and clean up the evidence of the murder she committed. She claimed that her mother in law was murdered by men who invaded her house. However, the actual case broke open only after the forensic experts retrieved the digital data from the woman’s smart watch and analysed the same.

 WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY AND EVIDENCE

 In the above case study, we can understand that the data in the smart watch can be considered as an evidence for resolving legal cases. I believe that the data in wearable devices including smart watches is nothing but data in the electronic form that is E-records ultimately. This is nothing but digital evidence and can be legally admissible under Indian Evidence Act.

WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY AND JURISDICTION

 I think the aspect of jurisdiction in the context of wearable technology is going to be ticklish. Given the nature of wearable technology the kind of Jurisdictional issues are going to be a completely different ball game altogether. Questions like where the data of the user is shared, processed to whom all it is shared will be a pandemonium. Another interesting aspect will be to understand which law will be applicable for any disputes arising thereof and which courts will have the jurisdiction to adjudicate such disputes is likely to bring in a lot of discussion debate among the law makers and various stake holders. However, will the jurisdiction outlined in the terms and conditions of such wearable devices be the guiding factor? This is likely to further complicate jurisdictional Issues. Over and on top how secure can be the storage of data and which enforcement agency can access it are also going to be knocking the door while going forward.

LIABILITIES

It is going to be interesting to analyse the landscape of liability in the context of wearable technology providers and service providers. In the absence of any national and international norms specifically in the light of wearable technologies I am of the opinion that the wearable technology and service providers should have in place reasonable security practices and procedures to protect sensitive personal data and personal information of the user while also having adequate measures to protect the privacy, safety of the user and also not indulge in any infringement of intellectual property rights and exercise care and caution and due diligence while discharging their obligations under the law and be duty bound to disable access to any illegal content. In this kind of scenario kinds of responsibilities to be followed by wearable technology and service providers will have to be specifically addressed as time passes by.

WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY AND CYBER SECURITY

As the wearable technologies are percolating with a rapid pace, cyber security is becoming the trigger point. Beyond the questions of privacy and data Protection, the cyber security relating to these devices is becoming an important vector and I believe that in this context cyber security law has to step in to address and mandate the appropriate cyber security obligations and cyber security legal compliance, specifically in the context of cyber security and wearable technology.

CONCLUSION

Given the bigtime adoption of wearable technologies in all walks of human life, the jurisprudence, legal, regulatory and policy aspects concerning wearable technologies will have to be dealt in a distinct manner. I believe that wearable technologies will bring forward interesting fragmented clusters of Cyber Law Development. I think this article will put forth a platform for discussions among various stake holders and will act as a key catalyst for the development of legal jurisprudence in the context of wearable technologies. I am of the opinion that the Information Technology Act, Rules and Regulations made there under is the Law on the eye while all of us are in the stage of voyage and on the cusp to address the legal nuances in the context of wearable technologies. Privacy, data Protection, cyber security, cyber crime, cyber legal compliance, jurisdiction, as also cyber law will emerge as critical instrumentalities in determining and defining the legal landscape of wearable technologies.

Adv. Sai Sushanth, Cyber Law Expert & Techno Legal Consultant

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Policy & Politics

Nexus of Good: Ubuntu Consortium

Anil Swarup

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‘I am, because you are’ refers to UBUNTU, a popular African philosophy which places emphasis on being self through others. This philosophy inspired a group of women entrepreneurs to lay the foundation for ‘Ubuntu Consortium of Women Entrepreneurs’, a consortium of Women Entrepreneur associations pan India. It is a non-government organization that was established in 2015 and registered under Societies Act on 8th March 2019.

 Ubuntu Consortium is a brain-child of and led by Ratnaprabha, former Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka. It was founded with a vision to bring together women entrepreneurs from diverse fields and to provide an ecosystem that nurtures and encourages them to grow to their full potential.

As the saying goes, “The ultimate use of power is to empower others”. True to this quote, Ubuntu Consortium provides support to micro- entrepreneurs from Tier 2 & tier 3 cities Mahila Mandal and Women Entrepreneur’s Associations at grassroot level. This is accomplished through their knowledge sharing and skill development workshops, networking, trade exposures, B2B platforms, best practices which aid the women entrepreneurs out there by providing them exposure and encouragement they require to thrive and upscale their businesses to the global level.

Ubuntu Consortium’s constant endeavour to aid the growth and development of Women Entrepreneurs has resulted in Karnataka State Government setting up women entrepreneurs’ parks in 5 districts of Karnataka.

Over a period of time, Ubuntu Consortium has been able to register 22 member Associations across the country even during pandemic. It also facilitated B2B and B2C platform to explore business opportunities. Around 12,000 secondary members are utilizing the services of Ubuntu.  

Ubuntu Consortium has also been in the forefront of providing marketing support to women entrepreneurs. These efforts include leading delegations to international trade fairs at Orlando, Bruno, Czech Republic, Slovenia etc, a B2B and networking platforms in various events where MNCs like Amazon, Flipkart, Asian Paints, Big Basket actively took part with mutual benefits.

Ubuntu’s flagship event, WOW- 2020 Enterprise Connect, facilitated B2B and B2C partnering in selected sectors to explore business opportunities & partnerships, vendor listing & procurement. The event brought together women entrepreneurs with necessary connect across Corporates, Global Organisations, Trade Associations and Government by ensuring their growth and encouraging them to expand their businesses.

When COVID pandemic brought the world to a standstill, Ubuntu stayed connected digitally with 30 women associations and all its members. The idea was to lend support to the women entrepreneurs during these difficult times. As an initial step during the pandemic, ‘Ubuntu help desk’ was setup along with KASSIA (Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association) and the UNDP (United Nations Developmental Programs). This dedicated helpdesk was to address the grievances that arose due to Covid -19.  

Several webinars on digital marketing & how to face the crisis during Covid fallout, along with a session on online marketing supported by UNDP and ACCESS, were organized. The seminars were conducted every month so that the women aren’t at a loss during the pandemic. Training program for women entrepreneurs to handle stress and work life balance organized in association with WICCI life-skills was found to be extremely useful. 

Initiative UNESCAP training program to train Women Entrepreneurs for digital marketing and e-commerce delivered remarkable results by empowering women to onboard their products.

Ubuntu Consortium of Women Entrepreneurs Association was the knowledge partner of the “Covid-19 Udyog Sahayavani Project” launched by United Nations Development Programme, Karnataka, to provide business advisory services and hand holding support to entrepreneurs and MSMEs. A series of webinars were organized on a variety of subjects. These included how to grow your business during COVID-19 and Digital Empowerment of artisans and rural micro-entrepreneurs for sustainable online market linkages. Webinars were also conducted on stress management and grinding technology to enhance productivity in collaboration programs with UNDP and KASSIA. 

Training programs on digital empowerment of artisans and rural micro entrepreneurs for sustainable online market linkages were conducted in 3 batches to connect them globally. Women entrepreneurs from several districts of Karnataka and other states took part in the event.

Virtual Job Fair under the COVID-19 Udyogsahayavani project and in collaboration with United Nations Development Programs (UNDP) and KASSIA witnessed participation of 280 candidates along with registration of 52 companies.

Ubuntu Consortium started the year 2021 with major breakthroughs which included signing of MOU with Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship to develop women entrepreneurship ecosystems.

Xcelerator Programme of Ubuntu in collaboration with GAME and FKCCI galvanized stakeholders in the ecosystem such as Government departments, financial institutions & skills institutions to align with the mission and created a more supportive ecosystem for women entrepreneurship

Ubuntu Consortium also signed MOUs with UNDP, GAME, UNESCAP, WICCI life Skills, Vision Karnataka Foundations and Mera Bills to strengthen the member Associations.

Prebudget meetings with Government of Karnataka enabled bringing in policies and schemes supportive to women entrepreneurs to scale up their business.   

During the event held on 18th November 2021 wherein Head, Inclusive Growth, UNDP participated, interactions were held with a large number of other associations of women entrepreneurs. The idea was to provide a platform to network and seek inspiration from success stories.

Led by visionary Ratna Prabha, Ubuntu Consortium made it happen and presents a wonderful example of Nexus of Good where an initiative to assist women entrepreneurs has been scaled. Enabling women to earn livelihood is perhaps the best way to empower them. This is precisely what Ubuntu Consortium is doing and doing it quite successfully. Even COVID could not stop their march on account of the commitment of Ratna Prabha and her dedicated team. The Consortium now has 19000 members from more than 30 Associations. It is a model that can be replicated and scaled further.

Anil Swarup has served as the head of the Project Monitoring Group, which is currently under the Prime Minister’s Offic. He has also served as Secretary, Ministry of Coal and Secretary, Ministry of School Education.

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Policy & Politics

Will turncoats influence outcome in UP?

It is very difficult to predict at this point whether this is the result of political wind or part of a strategy to get ticket.

Vijay Darda

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In the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the news of turncoat politicians switching their allegiance from one party to another is coming in every day. Since BJP is ruling the state, it is faced with massive defection with the disgruntled leaders leaving the party. Since the BJP is boasting that only lotus will bloom in Uttar Pradesh once again, the question is why are several satraps leaving the party in the state? And how much will these defectors influence the final poll outcome?

As a matter of fact, everything was hunky-dory till just before the announcement of elections. Last week, the BJP core committee met in Delhi after which the news leaked out that the party is planning to deny tickets to more than 100 of its sitting MLAs. Soon after, Swami Prasad Maurya, a minister then, put in his papers. His resignation triggered a wave of resignations in UP. About a dozen MLAs, including three ministers, have resigned so far. Those who have resigned never had an emotional attachment with the RSS. Swami Prasad Maurya was close to Kanshi Ram and later Mayawati for a long time. He had joined BJP to get a ticket and also became a minister, thanks to dominance of caste politics. Now he has joined Samajwadi Party. Others who have crossed over have their own pockets of influence across the state.

The BJP’s loss seems to have worked to the advantage of the SP. Interestingly, Akhilesh Yadav has categorically stated that now he will not take any BJP MLA in the SP. The statement has raised eyebrows in political circles. After all, why did Akhilesh say this? Perhaps he wants to send a message to the voters that the situation is not favourable for the BJP and there is a stream of leaders eager to join the SP. On the other hand, he is also trying to send out a message to the people who joined the SP that they should not ask for tickets. Akhilesh knows that due to the farmers’ agitation, the BJP may suffer in western Uttar Pradesh. The BJP has not been able to keep Chaudhary Charan Singh’s grandson and Ajit Singh’s son Jayant Chaudhary in its fold. Efforts are on to persuade him but it is not easy. SP can derive political advantage from it. This is the reason why SP is focussing on Purvanchal and has roped in smaller parties. In the last election, BJP got 115 out of 160 seats in Purvanchal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Yogi Adityanath have been making frequent visits to Purvanchal to save the party stronghold. Purvanchal has received a total package of about Rs 95,000 crore so far.

The spate of defections which the BJP is now witnessing should be seen in terms of small parties versus big parties too. The politics of Uttar Pradesh has been witness to the fact that whenever big parties have become strong, small parties have suffered and whenever big parties have taken small parties along, the latters have benefitted immensely; so much so that their leaders later start creating trouble for the leading party itself. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not afraid of the regional parties. He knows that they cannot blight the prospects of the BJP. But if the national party like Congress has even 5 per cent voter base in UP, it can make a difference. That is the reason why he keeps attacking the Congress more.

Now let’s analyse what happened to the defectors in the previous elections. An analysis reveals that from 2014 to 2020, none of the 12 MPs who defected and contested as a candidate of another party were re-elected. Moreover, of the 357 MLAs who contested the Assembly elections after switching allegiance, 170 won again. Overall, 52 per cent of the 433 defected MLAs and MPs won. Let me remind you here that in the last three elections, voters have changed governments in UP. The BSP government was formed in 2007, the SP came to power 2012 and the BJP got power in 2017. This time, Yogiji is saying that he has spent Rs 5 lakh crore directly to empower the people of the state in the last five years. These beneficiaries will vote for BJP. But I can say on the basis of my experience that your works never fetch you votes. People get some freebies because the party in the government feels that if it shows its performance, it will get votes.

Religious polarisation and caste politics matter more in a state like UP. The BJP is considered an expert in religious polarisation. After Ram Janmabhoomi, the Krishna Janmabhoomi issue is being raised. And with saffron-clad Yogiji leading from the front, BJP will get a huge benefit of Hindu votes. Similarly, Muslims are in the SP camp at the moment, but Owaisi is also making every effort to attract Muslims. It can be said that the fight for being number two in wooing Muslim votes is between Owaisi and the Congress.

As for Mayawati, she is not making any move right now. Caught in her own web of political and economic constraints, she is nowhere to be seen. Notwithstanding this, she is the only leader of Dalits. Ahead of the polls, the Dalit and Jat leaders though are rallying together, the rift between the two communities has widened after the Muzaffarnagar incident.

Thus, the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections will be quite interesting to watch. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

The author is the chairman, Editorial Board of Lokmat Media and former member of Rajya Sabha.

The phenomenon of turncoat politicians is nothing new to Indian politics. Though we have the anti-defection law in place, the political parties are smart enough to find the escape route. The BJP may be at the receiving end right now but the question is will these turncoats make any difference in the end?

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Policy & Politics

TELANGANA WELCOMES TESLA TO SET UP SHOP IN STATE

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Years after Tesla tried to make an entry into the Indian market, Industry and Commerce Minister of Telangana, KT Rama Rao invited Tesla CEO Elon Musk to set up shop in the state in a tweet.

“Hey Elon, I am the Industry and Commerce Minister of Telangana state in India. Will be happy to partner Tesla in working through the challenges to set shop in India/Telangana,” Rao said in a reply to Musk’s tweet.

“Our state is a champion in sustainability initiatives and a top notch business destination in India,” he added.

This statement has come days after Elon Musk said that Tesla “is still working through a lot of challenges with the government” in India to launch electric cars. Musk wrote in a post giving an update to a query on Twitter on Thursday. Tesla wants to begin selling imported cars in India this year but says taxes in the country are among the highest in the world, said Elon musk in a tweet

With a $39,990 global price tag, Tesla Model 3 may remain as an affordable model in the US but with import duties, it would become unaffordable in the Indian market with an expected price tag of around Rs 60 lakh.

Tesla’s request for tax cuts was first reported in July 2021, when sources told Reuters that the company had written to Indian ministries seeking a big reduction in import duties on electric vehicles. Soon after, Musk tweeted that Tesla was likely to set up a factory in India if successful with imported vehicles.

Another reason for the delay was that India treats clean energy vehicles the same as diesel or petrol vehicles, “which does not seem entirely consistent” with its climate goals, said Elon Musk as a reply to a tweet.

Lat year Rao helped in catalyzing a deal between the Telangana government and Kitex Group to get MD Sabu Jacob to invest Rs 2,406 crore in his state after Kitex pulled out of Kerala, withdrawing Rs 3,500 crore project from the state

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Policy & Politics

INNOVATION FOR INDIA, FROM INDIA, SAYS PM

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PM Modi called for a new mantra, that of innovate for India, innovate from India. This mantra came up to tackle challenges facing the country in the start-up industry. He counted the steps taken by the government in freeing entrepreneurs and innovation from bureaucratic silos. “The start-ups of India are changing the rules of the game. I believe that startups are going to be the backbone of the new India,” he said interacting with the youngsters from the world of startups. “Let us innovate for India, innovate from India”, he added. India, he said, has over 60,000 startups with 42 unicorns.

The government is focusing on three aspects to strengthen innovation, entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem- “Freeing entrepreneurship, innovation from government and bureaucratic silos; setting up institutional mechanisms to promote remodelling and innovation and handholding of youth innovators”, he said.

He also narrated the successes of startups during the recent years. “28,000 patents were granted last year as compared to 4,000 patents in 2013-14. In terms of trademarks, in 2013-14, 70,000 trademarks were registered in comparison with 2.5 Lakh trademarks in 2020-21”, he said.

He added, “India’s ranking on the Global Innovation Index is improving because of the programme on innovation started in the country. India’s ranking in the index in 2015 was 81 and now it is number 46.”

He lauded the efforts of startups in not only bringing innovation but also evolving as major job creators. As startups evolve and grow, the requirements of credential-bearing workforce with suited skill sets also increases. This leads to major job creation opportunities. Therefore PM Modi added that startups can be the ripe matrix for jobs and work opportunities to develop and blossom.

He said that the year 2022 has brought new opportunities and avenues for startups and January 16th will be celebrated as National Startup Day to help seep in the startup culture at the grassroot level in the society. Naming of the National Startup Day came in as big news because with the naming of the day, the entire culture of startups will get a new and rejuvenated boost. As people will be able to discern the day for startups and get to celebrate it the boost to the startups will be multiplied manifold.

Modi said that easier access to funds as well as making self-certification for compliance of nine labour and three environmental laws is also helping promote startups. Innovation and technology based solutions are being encouraged for finding solutions to facing the country.

Some of the famous startup unicorns of India include: UpGrad, CRED, Pharmeasy, PhonePe, OYO Rooms among others.

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Policy & Politics

ECONOMIC REVIVAL, EXPANSION ON CARDS: SURVEY

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There is no doubt that India is already under the grip of a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The country recorded at least 2.68 lakh new cases today, including 6,041 cases of Omicron; taking the total tally to 3.67 crore. Notwithstanding, the third wave spreading like wildfire, a significant percentage of industry leaders are optimistic about India’s economic revival with confidence ruling high amongst Indian businesses, finds a pre-budget survey conducted by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP (DTTILLP).

DTTILLP assembled a total of 163 responses from 10 industries. It was found that more than 75 per cent of respondents were positive about India’s economic revival as economic activities pick up steam with a healthy GDP growth.

The survey further finds that around 91 per cent of respondents believe that the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative (Self-reliant India), coupled with monetary policy actions by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) played an instrumental role in driving back the economy from gloom last year.

“The industry leaders expect the Union Budget FY 2022-23 to build on to this momentum,” DTTILLP said in a release. The Union Budget is scheduled to be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1.

On the other hand, 55 per cent of business leaders believe that providing extra tax incentives to long-term investors for infrastructure investment can encourage growth in the country.

While, 45 per cent of respondents believe that the upcoming budget should focus on announcing incentives for increased R&D spending that can boost sectors like automobile, technology, telecommunication, life sciences and capital goods.

Industry leaders, through the Deloitte survey also conveyed some other expectations like enhancing export competitiveness, putting in place competitive import tariffs, and reducing administrative inefficiencies.

“The economy has witnessed a steady recovery during 2021-22”, said, Sanjay Kumar, Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP, while commenting on the survey findings.

“The Indian economy will continue to witness the growth momentum if the government is able to sustain the efforts on implementation of reforms such as asset monetisation for the infrastructure growth, and PLI schemes,” he further added.

Also, most of the business intellectuals foresee an increased start-up activity fostered by the Centre’s stimulus packages (ECLGS) and policies, which will brighten up the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) culture in the country, resulting in a faster economic revival, Kumar said.

The survey also finds that 59 per cent of respondents believe in the fact that India can be a favourable atmosphere to run a business. With this regard, they touched on three things: promoting digitalisation, simplifying tax regimes and, improving land and labour laws that would also help enhance the EoDB in India.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today announced that January 16 will be observed as ‘Start-up day’ as they are the game changers, whereas small businesses are the spine of country’s economy.

“This partnership (between small businesses and start-ups) can benefit both, the society and the economy, especially women employment will get strengthened because of this,” Modi said as he interacted with start-ups via video conferencing on the occasion of Start-Up India Innovation Week.

The survey conducted by DTTILLP aimed at analysing the industry’s expectations from the upcoming ‘Budget 2022’, where focus will be on EoDB, self-reliance (start-ups) and economic growth.

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Policy & Politics

46 STARTUPS ANNOUNCED WINNERS OF THE NATIONAL STARTUP AWARDS 2021 ALONG WITH 1 INCUBATOR AND 1 ACCELERATOR

Startup India is about realising millions of dreams: Piyush Goyal

Tarun Nangia

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“Startup India is about realising millions of dreams,” said ShriPiyush Goyal today. Presenting the National Startup Awards 2021, the Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, he said the Startup Mission is a symbol of Self-Reliant & Self-Confident India.

“Be it a fisherman’s son from Chennai or a boatman’s daughter from Kashmir, they all want to bring prosperity to their families and to their people, and therefore are thinking bigger and bolder,” said Shri Goyal.

Shri Goyal said, realising the contribution of Startups towards nation-building, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today announced that January 16 will be celebrated as National Start-up Day, to take the Startup culture to the far flung areas of the country.

“Prime Minister Modi is a very firm believer in potential of Startups to contribute significantly to the growth of the nation during the Amritkaal, the next 25 years. He recognises Innovation to be the strongest pillar in making India ‘Aatmanirbhar’,” said Shri Goyal.

Shri Goyal said the PM has focused on three sutras (pillars) to strengthen innovation:

Liberating entrepreneurs from the web of Govt processes & bureaucratic silos, – over 25,000 compliances reduced, decriminalization of laws, etc, but what more can be done to help businesses grow & prosper in an easier environment?

Building institutional mechanisms, – strengthen regulatory processes and self-regulation, &

Handholding young innovators & new enterprises, – mentoring will define Innovation in the future

Shri Goyal called upon the Startups to focus mainly on five areas to make India the No. 1 Startup ecosystem in the world:

1. Develop solutions & content in Indic languages

2. Encourage products & solutions that have a larger social & economic impact

3. Promoting Startups in every district across the country, – Establish ‘Startup Access centers’ in every district

4. Creating Innovation zones at the level of Urban Local Bodies, &

5. Adopt best practices from across the globe & enhance India’s global competitiveness

Quoting PM Modi, Shri Goyal said, “Today India is rapidly moving towards hitting the century of unicorns. I believe the golden era of India’s start-ups is starting now…”

“Government is standing with our innovators and so is the entire country…Let’s Innovate for India, innovate from India!” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, DPIIT Secretary Shri Anurag Jain said the Department will handhold the Startup Award finalists across seven tracks i.e. Investor Connect, Mentorship, Government Connect, Capacity Development, Corporate Connect, Brand Showcase and Unicorn Engagement.

“Our journey together doesn’t end here with just awards, we will walk step by step with you in this journey,” he said.

During the ceremony, the Results of the National StartupAwards (NSA) 2021 were declared. A total of 46 Startupshave been recognized as winners of National Startup Awards 2021 along with 1 incubator and 1 accelerator.

The second edition of the awards invited applications across 15 sectors and 49 sub-sectors. The sectors included Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Drinking Water, Education & Skill Development, Energy, Enterprise Technology, Environment, Fintech, Food Processing, Health & Wellness, Industry 4.0, Security, Space and Transport and Travel. Six special categories were also introduced to recognize exceptional Startups contributing to the good of the society. The 2021 edition of the awards also recognized exceptional Startups innovating solutions to promote Indic languages and to compliment national efforts to combat COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 2177 applications were received from Startupsacross the 49 sub-sectors along with applications from 53 incubators and 6 accelerators for the ecosystem enablerscategories. These applicants included 863 Women-led, 414 innovations for combatting COVID-19 and 253 Startupsworking in rural areas.

All applicants were evaluated against six broad parameters namely Innovation, Scalability, Economic Impact, Social Impact, Environmental Impact, and Inclusiveness and Diversity.

After three rounds of detailed evaluation, 175 Startups were selected for presentation before the jury which made presentations before the 16 specialist jury panels, which comprised of domain experts from industry, investors and government.

The recognised entities will benefit from such recognition, not only in terms of being able to attract more business, financing, partnerships and talent, but also enable them to serve as role models for other entities, and to inspire them to be purposeful and responsible about their socio-economic impact.

53 applications were received from incubators and 6 applications were received from Accelerators. Select incubators and accelerators were selected after three rounds of evaluation for presentation before Jury Panel which gave presentations before the Jury.

The felicitation ceremony was accompanied by the release of an e-Report on National Startup Awards 2021 highlighting the year-round handholding support provided to the finalists of first edition of National Startup Awards and the journey of NSA 2021.

The ‘Blockchain-enabled verification for DPIIT tax incentive certificates’, ‘Digilocker enabled DPIIT Startup recognition certificate’ and second edition of the ‘Startup Champions’ programme on Doordarshan were also launched during the event.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) conceived the National Startup Awards to recognize and reward outstanding Startups and ecosystem enablers that are building innovative products or solutions and scalable enterprises, with high potential of employment generation or wealth creation, demonstrating measurable social impact. The measure of success is not only the financial gains for the investors, but also the contribution to social good.

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